Sunday, December 17, 2017

Poetry Pantry #383

Crater Lake, Utah, in winter

Good Sunday morning to everyone!  We are nearing the shortest day of the year here in the northern hemisphere; and I don't know about you, but I am always glad to have passed that milestone and noticing the days inching longer again.

Thanks to all of you who have participated in Poets United in some way this past week.  And more than that, thank you to each of you who has participated in Poets United this past year.

This past week Sumana provided an inspirational prompt for this time of year - Celebration.  We all have something we can celebrate, and this prompt was very timely.  On Friday Rosemary shared a poem of Eleanor Farjeon - "In a Far Land Upon a Day" which is a timely read, I think. 

We thank Sherry for her wonderful Monday features.  We thank Susan and Sumana for the excellent Midweek Motif prompts they provide each week.  We thank Rosemary for her I Wish I'd Written This, The Living Dead, and Thought Provokers features she shares with us week after week.  We thank each of you poets for your participation here, for your comments on our features, and the visits you make to the poems of other poets. 

Poets United will be taking a holiday break.  After this Poetry Pantry we will have about two weeks off to give us all a bit of a break.  Smiles.  We will resume again on December 31 with a Poetry Pantry on the last day of the year, for those who are interested in ending the year with a sharing of poetry!

With no further delay, let's share poetry!  Link your one poem below.  Stop in the comments and say hello! And visit the poems of those who link.  I look forward to seeing you on the trail.  And, of course, happy holidays!

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Living Dead

~ Honouring our poetic ancestors ~

In A Far Land Upon A Day

In a far land upon a day,
Where never snow did fall,
Three kings went riding on the way
Bearing presents all.

And one wore red, and one wore gold,
And one was clad in green,
And one was young, and one was old,
And one was in between.

The middle one had human sense,
The young had loving eyes,
The old had much experience,
And all of them were wise.

Choosing no guide by eve and morn
But heaven's starry drifts,
They rode to find the Newly-Born
For whom they carried gifts.

Oh, far away in time they rode
Upon their wanderings,
And still in story goes abroad
The riding of the Kings.

So wise, that in their chosen hour,
As through the world they filed,
They sought not wealth or place or power,
But rode to find a child. 

– Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965)

I've featured Eleanor Farjeon a couple of times already in the last few months (here and here, if you missed them) and in the course of researching her I came across this poem, which I thought would be great to save and share with you near Christmas.

Even for those of us who are not church-going Christians, it's a wondrous story with deep meaning, and I like the way it is told here (by one who was a believer).

Her writing often includes her delight in the natural world; her appreciation of folk tales and mythology, which she subtly reworks to make her own, adding a new dimension; and her wisdom about human nature. Here, too, you may find those things. But she was, above all, a lovely story-teller – or a teller of lovely stories – and this, also, you can see in this piece.

The ballad rhythm (a loosely metrical pattern of alternating 4-beat and 3-beat lines) can gallop inappropriately in the hands of an inexperienced poet. She avoids that trap, slowing the lines with commas, multi-syllabic words, extra syllables in some bars, and long vowels – just enough of them to do the work unobtrusively. I also like the naturalness of the rhymes – except in the first verse, where they seem a bit forced to contemporary ears; but when Farjeon began writing, inverted syntax for the sake of rhyme was an accepted convention. And it does rather fit the understated grandeur she achieves in simple, straightforward, yet artfully chosen words.


Image from Public Domain

Material shared in 'The Living Dead' is presented for study and review. Poems, photos and other writings and images remain the property of the copyright owners, where applicable (older poems may be out of copyright).

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Celebration

      “Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words.”— Plautus


People of our time are losing the power of celebration.  Instead of celebrating we seek to be amused or entertained.  Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation.  To be entertained is a passive state--it is to receive pleasure afforded by an amusing act or a spectacle. . . . Celebration is a confrontation, giving attention to the transcendent meaning of one's actions.” — Abraham Joshua Heschel

Midweek Motif ~ Celebration

Celebrations compel all to look forward to it, to have fun, to enjoy, to de-stress.

There’s no dearth of celebrations in this world. From the tiniest particle to the cosmos is in a mood of celebration.

For people everywhere there are funny, bizarre, interesting, solemn, traditional, religious celebrations.

Celebrations are part of our lives bestowing a sense of belonging, recognizing, strengthening and honoring relationships & also adding a purpose to life.

Life itself can be celebrated too, in a breath of gratitude.

Now it’s time for Celebration. It’s your choice how you connect your poems to it.

by Anna Akhmatova

I pray to the sunbeam from the window-
It is pale, thin, straight.

Since morning I have been silent,
And my heart - is split.

The copper on my washstand
Has turned green,
But the sunbeam plays on it
So charmingly.

How innocent it is, and simple,
In the evening calm,
But to me in this deserted temple
It’s like a golden celebration,
And a consolation.

I Love You Sweetheart
by Thomas Lux

A man risked his life to write the words.

A man hung upside down (an idiot friend
holding his legs?) with spray paint
to write the words on a girder fifty feet above
a highway.
 And his beloved,
the next morning driving to work.
His words are not (meant to be) so unique.

Does she recognize his handwriting?
Did he hint to her at her doorstep the night before
of "something special, darling, tomorrow"?
And did he call her at work
expecting her to faint with delight
at his celebration of her, his passion, his risk?
She will know I love her now,
the world will know my love for her!
A man risked his life to write the world.

Love is like this at the bone, we hope, love
is like this, Sweatheart, all sore and dumb
and dangerous, ignited, blessed--always,
regardless, no exceptions,
always in blazing matters like these: blessed.

 When The New Year
by Rg Gregory

when the new year
came out of nowhere
and peeped into rooms
it was so flattered to find
all the tv's drinking its health
praising its innocent appearance
it responded with its warm
dark smile and went round
filling people's dry hearts
with joy   

over the coming weeks though
those same tv's attacked it
criticising its puerile style
its sickly contemptible face
one year is the same as another
(they said) for the doom
time belabours us with
it took the year all
its length to discover
that the celebration
so welcoming its birth
just happened to be
where the beer was

Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community—
          Susan’s Midweek Motif on 3/01/2018 will be ~ Doorway(s)